As many as 250 employees at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., could be laid off by the end of March due to the uncertain funding situation for the remainder of 2011, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

NASA, like the rest of the federal government, is operating this year at 2010 funding levels under a stopgap spending measure known as a continuing resolution. The current continuing resolution expires March 4, and Republican lawmakers are pushing a new one that would fund the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011 while trimming domestic spending by some $60 billon compared to 2010. NASA’s share of that cut would be about $600 million.

“If we can make a small reduction in work force now we will have enough money to keep going for the remainder of the year,’ Richard O’Toole, executive manager of JPL’s office of legislative affairs, said Wednesday.”

other major NASA centers, JPL is a federally funded research and development center operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) under contract to the space agency. JPL’s work force consists of Caltech, rather than NASA, employees.